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How to Germinate Basil Seeds? | Paper Towel Method!

Every gardener at some stage in life has gone through the phase of germinating seedlings.

However, the procedure of germinating seeds can be tricky sometimes, but you do not need to bother if you’re here. This article will highlight all it takes to germinate Basil seeds using the paper towel method effectively.

Basil, or Ocimum basilicum, is a fantastic herb that grows quickly from seed.

According to the University of Illinois Extension, it can reach up to 18 inches in height and grows in USDA hardiness zone 2 to 11.

Sounds interesting, right?

Read further to find out how to germinate Basil seeds using a paper towel like a pro!

Choice of Variety

The best part about learning how to germinate Basil seeds using a paper towel is that you can get your hands on any variety.

Some of those well-known and fascinating varieties are listed below:

  • Genovese
  • Purple leaf
  • Thai Basil
  • Large Italian leaf
  • Lemon Basil

You may observe a change in color or flavor, but the planting instructions are nearly the same to follow.

When to Plant Basil Seeds?

When planting Basil seeds, you must be well-versed on when to plant them.

You must start planting the seeds indoors about 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost date. It will, however, be based on your site of residence.

In a warm climate, you can plant them in your garden 1 to 2 weeks after the last frost.

How to Germinate Basil Seeds Using Paper Towel?

If you are looking to germinate Basil seeds with the paper towel method, know that you can grow them quickly with a handful of techniques.

Growing Basil seeds do not need fancy equipment; only a bunch of supplies will suffice to serve the purpose.

Supplies Needed!

Before you start the process, gather the following items:

  • Basil seeds
  • Water
  • Seedling flat with a lid
  • Pre-moistened peat pellets or seed-starting soil
  • Heat-mat (Optional)

Let’s look at the optimum conditions.

Conditions Needed for Optimum Growth!

As you explore how to germinate Basil seeds using a paper towel, you will know that they like to thrive in optimum conditions, which we have mentioned right below.


Before getting started, remember that Basil seeds love to be grown in a warm environment. Frost conditions usually don’t suit them, and they seem to struggle in such situations.

Moisture Level

You must provide the Basil seeds with humid and moist conditions at the beginning of the germination phase. If you leave the seeds to dry out for a couple of days, there is a higher probability of them not recovering.

Light Exposure

When planting the Basil seeds, you must know how deep you need them in the soil. Burying them too deep will not provide them with the light they need to germinate.

Germinating Basil Seeds Using a Wet Paper Towel

It doesn’t matter if you have Basil seeds that are several years old; you can germinate them using this excellent technique.

Read further to learn how to germinate Basil seeds using the paper towel method.

Step 1:

Take a plain white paper towel or a napkin, free from contamination. Next, wet and wring the paper towel until it is sufficiently damp.

Step 2:

Next, prepare a transparent sealable container and space the seeds evenly (so they are not in contact) over half of the paper towel.

Step 3:

The third step is to keep the container where the temperature is persistently between 65- to 75- degrees Fahrenheit. You can provide this condition the way you want but ensure not to place it in direct sunlight.

Step 4:

A properly sealed environment is a perfect greenhouse that provides optimal conditions for germinating seeds. The Basil seeds usually sprout in approximately ten days. Now, once the seeds have sprouted, prepare the potting soil.

Step 5:

Once the seeds are close to sprouting, you need to prepare the potting soil mix for a few 3-inch pots.

Step 6:

Once the seeds have germinated and you’ve prepared your potting soil, thoroughly water the soil mix and transplant the seedlings in it.

Step 7:

Be sure not to touch the main root as it is very delicate. Instead, use tweezers on the first sprouted leaves or seed body to detach it from the paper medium.

Step 8:

Cover the seedlings in approximately ¼ inches of soil while keeping an eye on the new leaves that may sprout out of the soil.

Step 9:

Place the pots in proper sunlight and take care of the seedlings.

And you’re done!

🌱 Fast & Easy Seed Germination: How to Start Seedlings from Paper Towel Method (Container vs. Baggie) – YouTube

Now you know how to germinate Basil seeds using the paper towel method.


Here are a few benefits of this method:

  • The germination rate is faster on a moist napkin or paper towel.
  • Compared to the soil germination technique, this method provides two to three times faster germination.
  • The technique works surprisingly well for the old seeds.
  • It is an excellent option to assess your Basil seeds before investing in important stuff like soil or purchasing pots.

Now, let’s look at some common problems that might occur during the process.

Troubleshooting Some Common Problems!

It’s fun growing Basil from seeds until you are hit with some problems and don’t know how to fix them. So, besides learning how to germinate Basil seeds paper towel, you must also know how to fix the issues that might occur during the process.

Seeds Not Germinating

If your seeds are not germinating, there are higher chances that the surrounding is either too cold or too wet.

To fix this problem, use a heat mat and fresh seeds.

Seedlings Are Falling Over

Your Basil seeds can fall over repeatedly due to a disease known as Seedling Blight. Though you cannot do anything about it, you can clean them before using them again.

Now, let’s head toward the conclusion.


It is essential to thoroughly understand how to germinate Basil seeds if you are using the paper towel method.

Basil has been effective against fruit flies, gnats, houseflies, and mosquitoes.

You can also grow it indoors, all thanks to a versatile range of colors and flavors.

We have discussed everything you need to know about the germination of Basil seeds. Take your time to skim through all the steps thoroughly.

Ensure to give these seeds the optimum conditions, keep an eye on the troubleshooting problems and fix them.

I hope you liked and understood the steps to germinate Basil seeds using the paper towel method.

We would surely love to have your comments on the article!